How can we learn and grow professionally and as a leader if we don't know what needs to change? Here I share the stages that one goes through in developing skills and attitudes that can help us succeed. Learn more about the conscious learning model.
Conversations with business leaders - Starting this series on "Conversations with Leaders", that is with you business leaders - about how we lead ourselves and lead others. In this video, we explore a little bit about ourselves - because self-awareness is one of the hallmarks of a great leader. So please join the conversation with your thoughts and ideas.
Do you feel you are unable to stick to your new year’s resolutions or habits that will help you be more productive? And how does that make you feel about yourself? Not great, right? But instead of giving up on yourself, wouldn’t it be better if you tried to figure out a way to stick to your new year resolutions?
Fortunately, there are ways you can make your habits stick…
Your habits are a defining part of your life. Your habit thus shapes you, makes you or breaks you.
Come New Years eve and nearly everyone has a moment when they reflect on where they wanted to be and where they really are. This leads to some optimistic goals and resolutions that they intend to follow. But most of these are left halfway due to lack of motivation and determination. Thus, building the right habits and sticking to productive ways to achieve these New Year’s resolutions can go a long way.
If your resolution is based on a goal that needs to be achieved, break down your goal into small achievable steps. Form habits to help you achieve those goals. When we develop productive habits, we do not have to worry about leaving our resolutions halfway through. We develop behaviours that will help us achieve our dreams, resolutions and goals in auto-pilot.
Thus a good way to start would be choosing the habits we want to adopt, and you will then be amazed as these will help you achieve your goals one step at a time and help change your life.
When we try and don’t succeed in sticking to a habit such as waking up on time, working out or even doing a set number of chores daily, we give up thinking we are just not capable. Believe in yourself and try again each time you fail. By strategising and implementing these strategies, we are all capable of building new habits. It only shows that if we are unable to build a new habit, we may be just strategising incorrectly and need to come up with new strategies to build productive habits.
We usually tend to focus on the big picture and forget that it is impossible to reach our goals by first creating a blueprint and determining the small steps required to achieve a greater goal. When we set our bar too high right at the beginning, failure is guaranteed. For example, people think they should start exercising by jogging around 1 hour daily from the first day itself. A good practice would be starting with 10 minutes daily and building up your stamina and speed as you proceed.
Associate the habit you want to form with a habit that’s already been formed. For instance, if you want to build a habit of sleeping at a set time right after you read a book daily, start switching off your light at the set time regularly. After a point, your mind will associate switching off your light after reading at that time with sleeping and in no time, it will become a habit.
Gifting yourself once you are successful in inculcating your habit for a certain period time will reinforce the habit and it will then be more likely to stick. Soon your brain will start to enjoy doing the habit itself, but first, you need to put incentives in place to motivate yourself to do it.
Putting ourselves down and giving up because you could not achieve your set target is actually counterproductive. We should instead be kind with ourselves and allow ourselves minor setbacks. We can then focus on the next step and resolve to not skip the habit again.
Tell a friend who you trust about the resolution or goal. They may help you focus more on the goal. They will also provide support and help you with ways to overcome challenges in developing habits to achieve these goals’ if you find yourself wavering. They can also help you ensure that you do not give up midway.
Having the right strategies in place will help you achieve almost any goal that you set for yourself. It all comes down to the grit, passion and perseverance with which you pursue your goals.
Do let us know if you are able to achieve your goals by forming productive habits today!
We all at one point in our lives have had this same thought “I don’t have enough time!” Why is that, when we all get the same 24 hours? Why is it that some people achieve so much more with their time than others? The answer lies in good time management.
“Time management” refers to the way that you organize and plan how long you spend on specific activities. It is the ability to utilize one’s time efficiently to be more productive and organized. Self-discipline is the key to manage your time well. When you practice good time management, you leave no room for procrastination. The better you get at it, the more self-discipline you learn. This is a valuable skill that will begin to impact other areas of your life where a lack of discipline has kept you from achieving a goal.
Laura Vanderkam who is the author of many time management and productivity books shared a very useful idea about how we can be good at time management in her TedTalk titled “How to Gain Control of Your Free Time”. She says, “It’s not that we don’t have time to do things, it’s just that it’s not a priority for us.” When we consider something to be a priority, we would jump right in and try and accomplish the task as soon as possible.
She says that we should make a list of goals that we need to accomplish and note them down according to our priorities. This Priority list should consist of three sections namely, Career, Relationships and Self. This inadvertently makes us realise that we should have goals in all these sections and not just focus on our career goals.
“If you want to make good use of your time, you’ve got to know what’s most important and then give it all you’ve got.” – Lee Iacocca. We live in a culture obsessed with personal productivity. Attention management is the art of focusing on getting things done for the right reasons, in the right places and at the right moments. By using this method of attention management we: Prioritize the people and projects that matter, and it won’t matter how long anything takes.
You need time to get what you want out of life. If you wait for extra time to appear, you might lose the game of life. Through right time management, you can “create” the time you need, and not just wait for it to come. By planning your time wisely, you will have more time to do more things. It helps you make conscious choices, so you can spend more of your time doing things that are important and valuable to you. Even a small amount of time once a day, or even once a week, will take you closer to your goals, and you will be surprised at the progress you make.
Accept the fact that you are not Superman or Superwoman. Find time to relax, including the time to do absolutely nothing. The result of having adequate “downtime” is a brain that works better during both professional and personal time. The implementation of realistic time management plans can improve productivity and quality of life.
The education you gained in college and the skills you gathered over the years will only take you until a certain step of success. There comes a time when professional abilities take a backseat, and other things such as your personality or your soft skills take over. At a level when everyone is of the same calibre, it is these so-called extras that make you shine, get more opportunities, and grow.
Let us illustrate with an example. Gaurav and Rajan have both been team leaders for 2 years. Now, it is time to consider promotions. While both have similar skill sets and success rates, Gaurav is by far the more popular of the two – he led his team very competently and kept them motivated, was always positive about the tasks assigned to him, and, in general, approached work with determination and interest. He was also extremely good with clients and was well regarded by them. Rajan was also competent but clearly didn’t have the communication skills and the effervescent aura that Gaurav radiated.
It's pretty clear who became more successful in the long run! People want to work with and work for people who make them feel good – people who radiate positivity, are fair and know their jobs. It is as simple as that!
How do you become more like Gaurav? Many of these difficult-to-define abilities can be honed with training programmes that fall under the heading of personal development.
Personal Development, broadly speaking, is the process of improving yourself – understanding and expanding your strengths, discovering your weaknesses and improving them, changing your approach and mindset. It is about creating a new vision of yourself and making the changes to achieve it.
How does personal development help in your career?
Before you launch into personal development, you need to map out your needs. Unlike other training or learning programmes, which have a set system of teachings and exercises, personal development can be harder to pin down or define. You need to start with identifying your needs – for this, we recommend starting with self-awareness learning programmes. You must identify areas in your personal and professional lives that you would like to change and try to envision your goal. With this in hand, you can –with the help of a professional instructor- breakdown your broader vision into smaller goals, which can be tackled with training.
Here are some examples -
A resilient and growth-focused mindset
We put this first because it is something that helps everyone, at every level, and every stage of their lives. The current, fast-moving corporate culture doesn't offer the stability it did a decade ago. You have to be ready to face changing situations head-on. Whether a vital deal goes south or you get pink-slipped, or the economy tanks – a resilient forward-looking mindset will ensure you get up and work to solve yours or your organization’s problems.
To make your mindset more robust -
EQ - Emotional Intelligence
No one works in isolation. A large part of our success lies in our professional relationships and how we deal with everyone around us. Whether you are a fresher or a CEO, at every step of the corporate ladder, you must work with others. Whether you lead them or follow them, working well with people, managing conflicts and office politics, and dealing with a diverse set of backgrounds and cultures is part of every job.
To increase your EQ -
Building self-confidence has a definite effect on your career goals. From helping you do your job with clarity to negotiating a raise to leading teams with conviction – confidence in your abilities and vision enables you to jump over the usual work-related hurdles with ease.
To cut through the crowded corporate field, you need to have complete confidence in your abilities. Only with this clarity will you be able to showcase your talents and cement your place at the top.
To become more self-confident –
Personal Development is hard to quantify; more than a specific form of learning; it is a behavioural change. But just because it is so difficult to define doesn't mean that the changes are hard to identify. If you invest in making yourself into a better version of yourself, then you WILL see an impact in your career.
Are you ready to invest in yourself? Are you prepared to commit to improving yourself and expanding your horizons? If yes, then do get in touch with us. At Soaring Eagles, we offer CBT (cognitive behavioural theory) backed programs that bring lasting and positive changes to careers and lives.
Every time you read or hear about a successful person, one common theme always emerges – they have somehow learnt to control and leverage their subconscious mind. This control unlocks a fount of positivity, efficiency, creativity, and motivation for them and drives their achievements higher and higher.
Yes, but it takes time, effort, and practice. Our subconscious mind controls so much of our lives, yet we have very little control over it. It has been famously likened to a wild monkey that runs unchecked all over, but once given the right stimuli or direction can use its raw energy to help us succeed.
Unfortunately for us humans, our subconscious mind leans more towards negativity. One of the ways this is manifested is with mental blocks that develop over time. A mental block is a deeply held belief, which is created through personal experiences and influences how we approach certain situations. For example, many people feel they are going to fail, as they are not good enough. This thought starts them off on a negative note, making success slightly more difficult. So in case the person then actually fails, it would reinforce his/her mental block. And the never-ending cycle of negativity would continue.
At best, living with mental blocks can stop you from living life to the fullest, and at worst, it can dominate your life and hinder you professionally and in your relationships.
The first step is to identify our irrational beliefs; by being aware of our blocks, we can change our approach towards life in general. This understanding also helps us to determine what and in which direction we need to improve.
The best way to identify mental blocks is to listen to your inner thoughts. Every time your mind starts drifting from work or towards a certain conflict, you need to consciously listen to the monologue in your mind to find what you are thinking about. Over time a pattern could emerge that would point you in the right direction.
At SoaringEagles, we carry out detailed self-awareness exercises that can uncover core values or personality traits that could point you towards your mental blocks. You can also do simple activities such as asking yourself a series of questions about your feelings or actions. Why am I feeling like this? Why did I behave like this? What do I want from this particular action? And so on. You can scan your list of core belief systems, values, and motivational drivers and look for conflicts. For example, you might have a highly extroverted and friendly nature but are in a job that requires secrecy, or you could be highly ambitious professionally, but at the same time are an introvert who finds it difficult to network or play politics. These personality-value-belief misalignments often result in mental blocks.
Once you have identified some distinct mental blocks, it is time to find out more about them. With an understanding of what they are – fear, anxiety, anger or insecurity, lack of interest, or an inability to concentrate – you can catch yourself when they surface. It’s time to find the source of these problems and to bring them to light. Ask yourself again and again why you feel a certain way or when it all started? Write down exact thoughts that pass through your mind when these blocks come up. Some that appear unreasonable will start disappearing once brought to attention, and only the core problems will remain.
To counter their effect in your life, you need to face them head-on. Here are some tried and tested ways to remove or at the very least limit the influence of the blocks –
– When you start sliding down a familiar path, and an oft-repeated monologue begins in your head, cut it short right there.
– Another useful trick is to turn your negative mental block into positive action. For example, if you find yourself doubting your abilities, then take a break and call a loved one or chat with a friend. Develop coping mechanisms that help you negate the effects of your block.
– If you see that certain blocks are triggered by a situation, then keep an eye on the situation and take action before it goes out of hand completely. For example, if overloading your daily to-do list leaves you feeling anxious and reduces your productivity, then schedule breaks to reset your anxiety levels and keep up your morale.
Every single one of us has mental blocks that are hard-wired into our minds. Built over time and reinforced by repeated experiences, they are almost like muscle memory. They become your default way of reacting and acting. Changing or eliminating these blocks can transform your whole life! In this journey of transformation, understanding yourself and identifying your mental blocks is the first and the most crucial step. This tiny bit of introspection can lead to some giant changes.
At Soaring Eagles, all our coaching and training programs start with a detailed module on self-awareness. Understanding yourself and your subconscious blocks are the strongest foundation for long-lasting change. If what we discussed here strikes a chord, then don’t hesitate to pick up the phone. We would be happy to help!
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